Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations Begin Across the US

Check out the virtual platforms and events being organised across the US to commemorate the nations Hispanic heritage and culture
People marching at a previous Hispanic Day Parade, part of the Hispanic National Heritage Month, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan
People marching at a previous Hispanic Day Parade, part of the Hispanic National Heritage Month, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

&ldquoDuring National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize that Hispanic heritage is American heritage,&rdquo said United States President Joseph R. Biden Jr in his proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2021, thus putting in perspective the main idea of the annual celebration. &ldquoNational Hispanic Heritage Month is an important reminder of how much strength we draw as a Nation from our immigrant roots and our values as a Nation of immigrants,&rdquo the President said.

The commemoration started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

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According to records, the date September 15 was chosen as it is on this day five Hispanic countries &ndash Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua &ndash declared independence in 1821. Also, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

According to the US Census Bureau, &lsquoHispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture&rsquo. Many institutions observe the month with fanfare and awareness programmes, acquainting people with the Hispanic history, culture and influences as found in the US.

The official website of the US Army Reserve writes, &ldquoArmy values the contributions of American Soldiers with ancestry from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Hispanic Americans have not hesitated to defend and show their allegiance to this nation in many ways, but especially through military service. The Army and U.S. draws strength from the diversity that makes up America's melting pot.&rdquo

According to the US National Park Service, &lsquomore than 500 years of Hispanic and Latino history and heritage can be found in national parks or shared through National Park Service programs and partners in communities across the country&rsquo.

Other organisations who join the commemoration are The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum among others. The collaborative website presented by them gives a comprehensive list of events being held this year, including those being held by the institutions themselves.

Google kicked off the month-long celebration by honouring Panamanian American nurse and educator Murillo-Rohde.

If you are keen to know about the Hispanic culture and its influence, you may also take a look at the digital archive maintained by Google Arts and Culture on U.S. Latino art, culture and history , which includes Hispanic art, culture and history too. Check it out here.

For example, take a walk through 20 of the more than 50 US National Park Service Hispanic heritage sites here.

Or, catch &lsquothousands of years of Hispanic history in the broadest sense, from Europe to Mesoamerica and into the American Southwest, illustrating the complexities and diversity of the Hispanic experience&rsquo through Mundos de Mestizaje, a fresco ceiling here.

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